While London was a case study in what to do right, South Africa was a study in my failings. Learn from my mistakes. Study up if you have a honeymoon in your near future!
1. Put vanity aside, and get yourself a face mask.
Yes, I'm talking about those SARS masks. Really, the first tip is don't be too embarrassed to wear a face mask to protect you from other people's germs when you have a lot of travel ahead of you. I wish I had brought one, the man next to me on the plane was clearly very sick, and I know I caught a flu/cold from him. I don't think any of you will actually do it- but seriously, it's worth the embarrassment. If nothing more just have one on hand, just in case you need saving from Mr. Sniffles in the middle seat.
2. Skip the booze on the plane.
While I don’t normally drink on flights- this was a lot of travel. 2 full days of it (the trip doesn't normally take this long, but longer than usual layovers plus delays made it so). I don't take sleeping pills or melatonin (doesn't help me) on planes, and a bit of wine can help knock me out. While that may be okay in a normal vacation scenario - I went straight into wedding "party mode" when I arrived: a bachelorette party, a welcome party, a traditional wedding, and a Zulu wedding all consecutive days. If I had skipped booze on the plane, I would have been in better shape for all the parties ahead. Instead, I was dehydrated, and it left my immune system a lil bit weaker than usual (which as you learned earlier, was not the best).
3. Make hydration a priority
I repeatedly struggled to drink enough water, especially throughout wedding festivities (and I probably needed it the most then!). I had debated on bringing a big ole water bottle with me, but decided against it because my carry on was already approaching 30 lbs. In retrospect, I would've brought the bottle and left some books at home!
4. Make time to meditate
As mentioned before, when I landed I went straight into wedding chaos. My first morning I had a bit of time, but instead of waking and doing my morning meditation, I let curiosity and excitement get the better of me and I went to go explore. Regrets, friends, regrets. That was the last opportunity I had for meditation for the next 3 days. Late nights, early mornings, and lots of parties prevented me from keeping up with my routine. While skipping these things are okay while on vacation- I missed out on good self care that would've served me well! I didn't let the habit lapse the whole trip though – after the wedding events ended I got back into my routine! :)
5. Bring a pharmacy
I'm an experienced traveler, and I thought I was prepared, but I really was not. I had all my supplements with me, but no medicine. While I took special probiotics to prevent traveler's diarrhea, they didn't really work. I'm not exactly sure why, but regardless, I wish I had brought some Imodium in my kit. I also had menstrual cramps- Aleve, please. I had a fever (yes, I couldn't catch a break) - Ibuprofen was necessary. My sickness evolved into a cold/cough from h*ll - so I definitely needed some cold meds and throat lozenges.
A lot of these goods were available at the local chemist, but I was not staying close to town for the first part of the trip. However, I was saved because I had friends who, unlike me, brought pharmacies with them. So moral of the story is to plan for the worst case scenario. The only thing worse than getting sick on vacation is not having meds to make you feel better.
Side note: I'm a bit hippy dippy and when I'm at home. I try to not take medicine unless I really need it. I like to hydrate, rest, and let nature take it's course. However, in the case of vacation in far away places, this is the time to hop right off that high horse and take some meds. Your time away is short, and you want to savor these memories, not recalling how terrible you felt!
I hope these tips were helpful and you learned from my mistakes! What's the biggest travel fail you've ever experienced? Leave me a note in the comments below or on Insta! - AHS
Looking for more travel tips? Check out the posts below!